Believing That God Doesn't Exist
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15-11-2013, 09:46 AM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
(13-11-2013 01:40 PM)jockmcdock Wrote:  Do we sometimes saddle ourselves with a different set of evidence requirements? If I claim that 60 foot tall unicorns whose coats are coloured like McGregor tartan DON'T exist, couldn't I get away with just saying "There's no evidence...even after thousands of years"? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but I suspect many people would, in this particular scenario, accept AoE as EoA.

Strictly speaking you can't get away with that because you'd be making a logical fallacy known as the argument from ignorance. As atheists we do not go with this. We simply don't make any claims for that reason. We reject the claims made by theist because their evidence is shit.

(13-11-2013 01:40 PM)jockmcdock Wrote:  I suspect something similar if I said "Zeus doesn't exist" as opposed to "The Christian God doesn't exist". My "proof" that Zeus doesn't exist (not that I have one) might be more acceptable to many people than the alternative.

Yes, this is because people are disposed to confirmation bias.

8000 years before Jesus, the Egyptian god Horus said, "I am the way, the truth, the life."
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15-11-2013, 05:25 PM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
Well, without reading all of the comments. I've gone through a whole bunch with this subject. Not personally, but in tring to understand the viewpoints of other atheists. Personally I've always been a positive believer that there are no gods, in fact I feel it is in my realm of knowledge that there are no gods. Just like I'm a positive believer that there are no elephants with wings that can fly across continents. To me, there is no reason to keep a crack in the door to allow the possibility of a claim that is ridiculous and defies standard concepts of reality.

The key difference between my gnostic atheism compared to a gnostic theist is that I am not personally attached to the idea that there is no god. I would not mind being proven wrong someday, and I always invite whatever aligns most with reality.

I used to not understand the difference between "Not believe" vs "believe in not". It took me a while, but I get it now, but I don't feel the distinction is necessary for me. I have always seen the god hypothesis as being no more credible than the claims of ghosts, Santa, psychics, or super powers (magic). I don't think there is any shame in actively thinking that those things are false, even if many think that they are true.
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15-11-2013, 05:46 PM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
(15-11-2013 05:25 PM)Adrianime Wrote:  Well, without reading all of the comments. I've gone through a whole bunch with this subject. Not personally, but in tring to understand the viewpoints of other atheists. Personally I've always been a positive believer that there are no gods, in fact I feel it is in my realm of knowledge that there are no gods. Just like I'm a positive believer that there are no elephants with wings that can fly across continents. To me, there is no reason to keep a crack in the door to allow the possibility of a claim that is ridiculous and defies standard concepts of reality.

The key difference between my gnostic atheism compared to a gnostic theist is that I am not personally attached to the idea that there is no god. I would not mind being proven wrong someday, and I always invite whatever aligns most with reality.

I used to not understand the difference between "Not believe" vs "believe in not". It took me a while, but I get it now, but I don't feel the distinction is necessary for me. I have always seen the god hypothesis as being no more credible than the claims of ghosts, Santa, psychics, or super powers (magic). I don't think there is any shame in actively thinking that those things are false, even if many think that they are true.

Yeah, I am a gnostic atheist, too, and proud of it Smile

How do I know that God does not exist? In the same way I know that the speed of light in vacuum is constant and apples fall to the ground when they leave their tree.

Am I absolutely sure that there are no apples flying into space when they are no more connected to a branch? Well, no. But that is not a sufficient condition to claim agnosticism about the consistent properties of gravity.

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15-11-2013, 06:40 PM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
(15-11-2013 05:46 PM)viole Wrote:  Yeah, I am a gnostic atheist, too, and proud of it Smile

How do I know that God does not exist? In the same way I know that the speed of light in vacuum is constant and apples fall to the ground when they leave their tree.

Am I absolutely sure that there are no apples flying into space when they are no more connected to a branch? Well, no. But that is not a sufficient condition to claim agnosticism about the consistent properties of gravity.

Ciao

- viole
Nice! There seem to be very few atheists who take our stance. For me to admit that a god is a reasonable possibility would basically require me tearing down my understanding of reality. I'm a complete skeptic and a denyer of all things supernatural (and I don't "hide from it", I check this stuff out from time to time). I hardly understand the fuss about taking this stance when so many will happily admit that they know there is no Santa.
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16-11-2013, 03:48 AM (This post was last modified: 16-11-2013 07:10 AM by viole.)
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
(15-11-2013 06:40 PM)Adrianime Wrote:  
(15-11-2013 05:46 PM)viole Wrote:  Yeah, I am a gnostic atheist, too, and proud of it Smile

How do I know that God does not exist? In the same way I know that the speed of light in vacuum is constant and apples fall to the ground when they leave their tree.

Am I absolutely sure that there are no apples flying into space when they are no more connected to a branch? Well, no. But that is not a sufficient condition to claim agnosticism about the consistent properties of gravity.

Ciao

- viole
Nice! There seem to be very few atheists who take our stance. For me to admit that a god is a reasonable possibility would basically require me tearing down my understanding of reality. I'm a complete skeptic and a denyer of all things supernatural (and I don't "hide from it", I check this stuff out from time to time). I hardly understand the fuss about taking this stance when so many will happily admit that they know there is no Santa.

The reason why not many atheists take this stance is mainly due to the fact that atheists, in general, do not want the burden of proof shifted on them. And so you see innumerable semantic discussions concerning the difference between not believing in X vs. believing in not X.

In my opinion, this is due to an equivocation between what we mean with "knowledge" and what we mean with "absolute certainty".

Most, if not all, of science, history, etc. is based on knowledge about the world which is vulnerable to the "black swan" effect. A scientist must always be ready to revise her knowledge when evidence is presented that the previous knowledge was not accurate. But that, again, is not sufficient to declare agnosticism about the current findings of science without sounding weird.

So, if a theist asks me to justify my knowledge about the non-existence of the supernatural, I usually ask her what she knows about the world. If she insists that knowledge requires absolute certainty, then it is obvious that she does not know anything, either. Simple things like "it is raining outside" can be made uncertain (even if it is raining) by using some imagination.

The final result is that "knowledge" would become a meaningless word and we would skip into global skepticism.

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- viole
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16-11-2013, 07:55 AM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
(16-11-2013 03:48 AM)viole Wrote:  The reason why not many atheists take this stance is mainly due to the fact that atheists, in general, do not want the burden of proof shifted on them. And so you see innumerable semantic discussions concerning the difference between not believing in X vs. believing in not X.

In my opinion, this is due to an equivocation between what we mean with "knowledge" and what we mean with "absolute certainty".

Nice try, but no. You are claiming there is a god - you have the burden of proof.

I am not trying to shift anything as I am making no claim.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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16-11-2013, 08:33 AM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
(16-11-2013 07:55 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(16-11-2013 03:48 AM)viole Wrote:  The reason why not many atheists take this stance is mainly due to the fact that atheists, in general, do not want the burden of proof shifted on them. And so you see innumerable semantic discussions concerning the difference between not believing in X vs. believing in not X.

In my opinion, this is due to an equivocation between what we mean with "knowledge" and what we mean with "absolute certainty".

Nice try, but no. You are claiming there is a god - you have the burden of proof.

I am not trying to shift anything as I am making no claim.

There's a reading comprehension fail. What happened? No coffee yet? Big Grin

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16-11-2013, 08:50 AM (This post was last modified: 16-11-2013 09:01 AM by viole.)
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
(16-11-2013 07:55 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(16-11-2013 03:48 AM)viole Wrote:  The reason why not many atheists take this stance is mainly due to the fact that atheists, in general, do not want the burden of proof shifted on them. And so you see innumerable semantic discussions concerning the difference between not believing in X vs. believing in not X.

In my opinion, this is due to an equivocation between what we mean with "knowledge" and what we mean with "absolute certainty".

Nice try, but no. You are claiming there is a god - you have the burden of proof.

I am not trying to shift anything as I am making no claim.

This is more complicated than you think.

You are actually claiming something: that you do not believe in God. Now, I am not requiring the output of a lie detector or a scan of your brain to support your claim, for the moment Smile

Suppose that I accept it (as I do). In which form should I accept it? Should I believe that you do not believe in God or should I know that you do not believe in God?

If I claim to know that you do not believe in God, someone might be tempted to require evidence of my knowledge, and we are back to the brain scan scenario.

If, on the other hand, I only believed that you do not believe in God, should I provide evidence for what I believe (your unbelief)?

If I should, how can I do that without providing a brain scan of your brain, making thereby my belief indistinguishable from my knowledge, at least for what concerns the burden of proof?

And if I shouldn't, why do you require evidence of God if the believer merely believes in Him?

Ciao

- viole
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16-11-2013, 09:19 AM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
(16-11-2013 08:33 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  
(16-11-2013 07:55 AM)Chas Wrote:  Nice try, but no. You are claiming there is a god - you have the burden of proof.

I am not trying to shift anything as I am making no claim.

There's a reading comprehension fail. What happened? No coffee yet? Big Grin

I think I read it right.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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16-11-2013, 09:26 AM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
(16-11-2013 08:50 AM)viole Wrote:  
(16-11-2013 07:55 AM)Chas Wrote:  Nice try, but no. You are claiming there is a god - you have the burden of proof.

I am not trying to shift anything as I am making no claim.

This is more complicated than you think.

You are actually claiming something: that you do not believe in God. Now, I am not requiring the output of a lie detector or a scan of your brain to support your claim, for the moment Smile

Suppose that I accept it (as I do). In which form should I accept it? Should I believe that you do not believe in God or should I know that you do not believe in God?

If I claim to know that you do not believe in God, someone might be tempted to require evidence of my knowledge, and we are back to the brain scan scenario.

If, on the other hand, I only believed that you do not believe in God, should I provide evidence for what I believe (your unbelief)?

If I should, how can I do that without providing a brain scan of your brain, making thereby my belief indistinguishable from my knowledge, at least for what concerns the burden of proof?

And if I shouldn't, why do you require evidence of God if the believer merely believes in Him?

Ciao

- viole

No, it's not complicated. I don't have a belief in that for which there is no evidence.

I don't believe in gods, faeries, unicorns, orbiting teapots, Chevies around Pluto, etc. because there is no evidence for them.

I am making no claim, I am stating an epistemological position. I don't accept something without evidence - I am not denying anything, I am not making a negative claim.

I don't care if the believer doesn't require evidence for her belief; I do.

However, my estimate of the intelligence of the believer is lowered by the evidence that she doesn't require evidence.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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